Cllr Ross Vettraino blog day 5

Dear Fifers

Today is day 5 of climate week and what an interesting week it has been.  I’ve learnt a lot and seen first-hand some of the amazing Fife Council carbon reduction projects, which mitigate against the Climate change, including:

·     the Hydrogen Office at Methil, which is leading the way in alternate fuels for transport and heating;

·     the waste resource centres at Ladybank and Dunfermline, which effect reuse, recycling and renewable energy, including biomass, solar and wind energy and

·     the Anaerobic digestion plant, which processes our food and garden waste and produces not only compost but low carbon heating through the  Dunfermline district heating system for the leisure centre and homes in Dunfermline. It also produces 4,500,000 kWh of low carbon electricity that’s fed into the national grid.

Fife Council is usually ahead of the curve and, supported by its staff, continues to take courageous decisions to be among the first to adopt new technologies and prove, not only that they work, but that they bring both environmental and financial benefits for Fifers.

As Chris Stark, Director of Energy and Climate Change at Scottish Government reminded us this week: ‘Reduction of carbon emissions is not something that would be good to do. It’s the law!  It’s something we have to do’. The new climate policy is in draft just now and is looking to be finalised in 2018. Reduction targets for emissions may be increased from 80 – 90% for 2050.   We, as councillors, need to ensure that the Council addresses not only its own emissions within our buildings and operations but also that the Council has an influence on Fife’s emissions overall.

As was said in yesterday’s workshop, the Council must work more with communities, through community councils and other local groups, and empower local people to take the steps that are fundamental to mitigating climate change.  As a first step, we have a responsibility to ensure that Fifers are aware of the challenges that climate change will bring and the changes in culture and attitude that are required in order to combat it.  I firmly believe that those changes will be all the more easily achieved if the Council and the community are working together.

Indeed, it is the case that the challenges that lie ahead cannot be met by the Council alone.  Local communities must be part of the decision making process about what will be done to reduce carbon emissions through mitigation and building in adaption measures for resilience.  If that is so, then the consequential empowerment and ownership will go a long way towards making these projects more sustainable, more achievable and more affordable.  It is essential that the challenges are addressed, inter-alia, in the Local Outcome Improvement Plan.

A recent Fife Council research project, a first from a council in Scotland, is the Energy Master Plan for Burntisland, which was funded by Transport Scotland and Local Energy Scotland. It was a 5 month long project, which focussed on finding out how Fife Council could best work with a local community around decisions on low carbon electricity, heat, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.  And yes, the project proved it was possible to meet the 2017 Government targets of 80% carbon reduction for a town as well as costing all of the measures required to do so.

The project involved some of the top data and energy consultants in the country and produced a 200 page report. The lessons learnt, next steps needed and the questions it opens up in terms of planning and funding make this a valuable working document, which can be replicated for other communities in Fife.   It helps unpack complexities around whole communities achieving 80% reductions targets and creates a reality in terms of cost. Today, sees the launch of the simplified EMP brochure, which I commend to you.

When the Burntisland Energy Master Plan was presented at a community event in Aberlady, the village was so inspired, it formed a community group that very day to deliver loft insulation to every house in the village. I hope that the Brochure will whet appetites and inspire everyone to what is possible.  Although the challenge is immense, working together, regardless of who we are, where we live or what affiliations or beliefs that we may have, we have a great opportunity to bring about change and prosperity by building a low carbon economy.

Climate week, through its activities and conversations, has been a great catalyst for thought and a focus for action.   I intend to take every opportunity to ‘spread the word’.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the expertise and industry of the Council’s Climate Change Team, which has made Climate Change Week such a success.

It’s been great to chat these last few days.

Till next time

Journey in an electric car – Friday 22 September

Journey in an electric car – Friday 22 September

Final day’s thoughts.

It’s the last day of my blog today and I thought I’d pick up on a couple of other items that I’ve noticed and maybe finish with a nod to the future.

Silent motoring

In Wednesday’s blog I wrote about how the conversation was flowing without the interruption of a noisy diesel engine working through the gears. A related factor that I’ve noticed is how many people don’t notice the car is coming along the road. Last night I was at the Michael Woods Leisure Centre and I had to stop and wait for 3 pedestrians who were walking along the road completely oblivious to the fact that a car was behind them.  I’d love to say that this was a one off but it’s an occurrence in most car parks and can be a hazard when driving along the road.

Have a think about how you cross the road. Do you always look or do you sometimes rely on sound to judge if it is safe to cross.  I have to admit that initially I’d rely on sound and it seems that a lot of other people do too.  I seem to remember reading a few years ago that some of the electric cars had a built in speaker to simulate engine noise for pedestrians – particularly in built up areas.  I’m not sure if that was true or still the case but it’s certainly worth considering.

It may be that we as pedestrians need to adapt our behaviour and to ensure we use more than one sense when crossing the road or car park.

Electric future

Electric cars are continuously improving and you only need to look at the car review magazines to see that they are being taken seriously and are impressing. Two big changes this year will be the affordable extended range cars.  The Renault Zoe is improved with a manufacturer’s range of over 240 miles per charge whilst real life figures estimate that to be closer to the 180 mark.  That is probably more than enough for most return trips other than the family holiday.

The ‘affordable’ Tesla is also expected to start production this year. The Tesla website states that in America it will cost around $35,000 so a rough conversion for the UK would be around £26,000 for the standard model.  That will cover around 200 miles per charge for one of the most exclusive electric cars on the market.   Right hand models won’t be available until 2019 but Tesla believe in their product and aim to eventually make their product easily affordable.  They currently have half a million orders across the world for their Model 3 affordable car so they should learn a lot over the next 2 years in producing this type of vehicle.

My electric future

On Monday I have a new staff member joining the team and I’m going to take them out to visit some of our sites. That could take us from Glenrothes to St Andrews via Dunfermline and Methil.  Would I have considered an electric car for that trip last year? Not a chance, however on Monday I’ve booked the new Renault Zoe and I have absolutely no concerns about it being able to complete the full journey if required. That’s a massive shift in my opinion from recent times and when it comes time to replace the hybrid I don’t see any reason why a fully electric vehicle won’t be able to meet the needs of our household.

The end of the road

I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey in an electric vehicle this week and if I may, I’ll leave you with a few of my thoughts.  If you haven’t yet driven an electric vehicle, be that a hybrid or full electric, I urge you to take one out for a test drive.  Coming from a person who really enjoys driving, I think they may be even better than the traditional engines. The other thought would be to consider the whole life cost.  To improve our environment this is something that we need to do more of, from investing in infrastructure to the way we heat our homes, but it applies equally to the way we fuel our vehicles.  Yes, electric cars are more expensive to buy initially and they are not yet affordable for all but depending on the mileage you cover, fuel savings would be in the thousands over the time you own the vehicle.

Electric Vehicles are the route that manufacturers and Governments appear to be supporting so maybe it’s time we followed suit. Next time you are thinking about replacing your car have a look at what electric can do.

Cllr Ross Vettraino blog day 4

Dear Fifers

It is day 4 of Climate week and today councillors and Fife Council staff met for a lunchtime workshop to learn what Climate Change will mean for Fife and how we can mitigate and adapt in readiness.

Cat Payne delivered her climate presentation again and I was very pleased to see a number of new councillor faces in attendance. Over this week we have had 18 % of Fife’s Councillors visit some of the Council’s great carbon reduction projects and discuss climate issues.  It’s been good to hear how positive councillors are in what we need to do to move things forward.

There’s been talk of having a carbon budget, of taking into consideration carbon emissions and climate risks for new projects, of future proofing our housing stock and council buildings, of working more closely with planning and developers, of working in schools to educate our younger generations as well as working more closely with communities to support local initiatives.

There seems to be strong will to ensure life time costs are considered in addition to capital costs. If we do so, we would be able to see the financial benefits of implementing energy efficiency measures, renewable energy and adaptation protection. There has been a lot of great ideas and considerations heard over the week. The trick is to convert those ideas into action!

Moving forward, I feel it’s important all Councillors and Council staff have the opportunity to understand the challenges that we will face in Fife and the magnitude of the risks if we, as a council, are to continue to deliver services as we would like. We need to consider how climate change will affect our infrastructure, housing and land use through rising sea levels and increased risk of flooding, which is particularly important, as Fife has coast line on 3 sides. We need to ensure we have a secure, low carbon energy source that’s affordable for all, so that we can protect our vulnerable citizens from extreme temperature of hot and cold. If we can develop a low carbon economy in Fife, we can enjoy some of the success in California, where the economy is booming thanks to forward thinking and low carbon energy production.

It is difficult to not just live for today as Cllr David Ross said, but we do need to plan for the future and build in protection through mitigation and adaptation methods, so that our children, grandchildren and those generations that come after us are able to enjoy the bounty of what Fife has to offer. We must remember that we only have this planet on loan from our children and we have a duty to care for it until we hand it back to them.

My thoughts today are focussing on the actions, which I feel we need to put in place and which include, as a first step, raising awareness in the Council, at all levels, and in the community as a whole of what lies ahead and the measures that we can take, both individually and collectively, to secure the future.

Till tomorrow

With best wishes Cllr Ross Vettraino

Journey in an electric car – Thursday 21 September

Journey in an electric car – Thursday 21 September

Today, I’m going into a little more detail about electric vehicles and the benefits of both owning and running one. There are differences, and it takes a little time to get used to that, but once you have, you can find it’s a more pleasant drive.

Electric vehicles and speed

I mentioned in my previous blog that electric vehicles can be faster than you might think. The Volkswagen GTE hybrid is 0-60 in under 8 seconds, the same as its petrol sports counterpart, and the Renault Zoe completes the same task in around 13 seconds.  That’s faster than its Renault Clio equivalent.

Electric vehicles deliver the torque immediately from the start, which means that up to 30mph they are probably faster than almost any other car.  That means that not only are you producing zero emissions, but you are doing it quickly.  They truly are brilliant for around town and let you find a gap in the traffic that you might not otherwise consider.  They are not slow on the national speed limits either, with a maximum speed of around 80mph – not that I encourage testing that claim.

All electric vehicles are automatic – they have no need for multiple gears, so an automatic gearbox is perfect.  It makes driving incredibly simple and in ‘regenerative breaking’ mode it can mean that the car does most of the work.  I’ll explain this a bit more and I’ll qualify the statement.

Energy recovery

Electric cars have an option for putting charge back into the battery from kinetic energy as the car is moving and braking.  There is an option to put the car into regenerative braking mode, which means that as you lift your foot off the accelerator the car uses the electric motor to recover energy.  In my vehicle it also uses sensors to judge the distance of the vehicle in front. This means that with a bit of planning, I only need to touch my brake pedal at about 5 mph.  This varies depending on the vehicle type, but when it works, it makes driving very easy and enjoyable.

I was using the Nissan EV200 people carrier yesterday.  In regenerative braking mode it certainly wasn’t as effective as the hybrid Golf, nor other electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf.  I think part of the adaptation to an electric vehicle is understanding the differences in each one, in order to get the most out of it.

Economic benefits of electric cars

Looking at economic benefits, the Renault Zoe is probably the cheapest on the road, at a starting price of just under £14,000. However, you do need to rent the battery for approximately £70 per month.  The Nissan Leaf costs from £17,000 but, again, you will need to pay extra to own the battery.  They are more expensive than the average car up-front but you make savings in the operating costs.

Let’s start with road tax, there is none.  You still need to register it every year with DVLA but there is nothing to pay.  Fuel costs are also very good.  If you are charging from a public charging point its free to use and if you have a charging station at home then its somewhere between 60-80% cheaper than the equivalent cost of fuel.  Maintenance costs can also be lower as they appear to be relatively easy to maintain. It’s about looking at the life cost of the car, rather than the upfront cost to find out if it is going to work for you.

Electric cars for all

Technology is rapidly developing and the cost of the batteries are expected to decrease over the next few years.  This will happen as more people start to buy them and manufacturers make them more commonplace.  It’s thought that the battery accounts for around 40% of the total cost of an electric car at present.  As manufacturers start to install a battery in every car the cost will come down significantly and make the electric vehicle more accessible for all.

Cllr Ross Vettraino blog day 3

Dear Fifers,

This is day 3 of climate week and today’s visit took us to Lower Melville Wood landfill site.  This title may mislead as waste to landfill is only a little part of the processes happening here.  At the Council we recognise that waste is a resource, so Lower Melville Wood is a resource management centre.  Proper management of the waste enables it to be used to the benefit of both the community and the environment. It currently costs the Council about £95 for every tonne of waste that it disposes of by way of landfill.  Last year the Council landfilled 112,000 tonnes of waste at a cost of over £10 million.  By 2021, because of legislative changes, the costs will be 50% greater.  It is absolutely vital, therefore, that the Council minimises the waste that it puts into a hole in ground and, as a consequence, minimises pollution, which is why it is urging everyone to recycle or reuse as much as possible. The money that is not spent on landfill can then be invested in better services for the people of Fife.

 As an alternative to landfill, some waste is processed so that it can be used as a ‘Refuse Derived Fuel’ suitable for power generation and sold to Scandinavia.

Scrap wood from around the UK is processed into wood chip for use in biomass boilers.  The woodchip is used by the biomass boiler at Markinch and will soon be used to heat homes in Glenrothes.  Some of the processed wood is also sold and used as animal bedding.

All this on-site processing eliminates the need to transport the pollutants off-site, which of itself helps to reduce the Council’s carbon footprint.

All landfilled waste produces a highly polluting liquid called ‘leachate’.  In Fife, the leachate is purified on-site and finally treated via an on-site reed bed system before being discharged into a water course.  Landfilled waste also produces methane gas, which is a powerful ‘Green House Gas’.  In Fife, this gas is collected and used to power turbines, which produce electricity which is either sold to the national grid or used to heat public buildings and dwelling houses. In addition, the roof of the MRF (the waste shed) has a 49 kW solar array and on site there is also a 500 kW wind turbine. The site, therefore, generates as much low carbon energy as is possible and secures income for the Council.

I was joined on-site today by a number of my colleague councillors, who were equally well impressed with what they saw and heard.  Incidentally, we all travelled there in the council’s new environmentally friendly electric people carrier and electric pool car.

What was reinforced today is that waste is too valuable to be thrown in the ground. We need to think twice before we put things in our landfill bin. The less we put in landfill bins the less money is wasted in landfill costs.   Charity shops are waiting to take your clothes, books, furniture and small electric goods. Zero Waste’s website offers further ideas on reusing and recycling your waste.

Last year Fife recycled the greatest amount in tonnes in Scotland. Let’s keep Fife leading the way in reaching Scotland’s zero waste target.

Lower Melville Wood resource management centre is a great example of how Fife thinks globally and acts locally

Til tomorrow, with best wishes,

Cllr Ross Vettraino

Journey in an electric car – Wednesday 20 September

Today we were at one of our facilities just outside Ladybank. This was part of our activities for climate week where we took staff and elected members for a tour around the facilities to show them all the good work that is going on in terms of reducing our impacts on the climate.

To get there we booked two of the council’s electric vehicles. One of them was a seven seater Nissan people carrier and the other was a Nissan Leaf.  We wanted our trip to be zero emissions and by using the fleet of pool vehicles we were able to achieve this.

In the first day’s blog, I talked about range anxiety. The trip was going to be going from Bankhead in Glenrothes to Ladybank and then on to Dunfermline to visit our other resource management site.

I was uncertain that the people carrier would be able to do that range so on a trip to Dunfermline on Friday, I choose to give it a trial run. Driving from Glenrothes to Dunfermline and back again used around 40 miles of charge during the trial run with a maximum range of 95 miles per charge.  As a result I was happy that it would be able to comfortably manage the journey without unnecessary range anxiety.

I think the passengers were pleasantly surprised too. There was plenty of space and the journey was smooth – nothing to do with my driving but the electric motors are simple to drive with no gear shifting required.  They can be surprisingly quick too and there was no engine noise to disturb the excited conversations on the return journey for people talking about all the inspiring activities that they’d seen during their trip.

Due to a change in schedule we didn’t make it to Dunfermline but the people carrier still had 65 miles range when we returned to Bankhead. There would have been no issues completing the scheduled journey without the need to charge.  That’s disappointing for me as I’d planned to drop our visitors of at our site and then find a coffee stop whilst I charged the vehicle back up over lunch.  That not only saved me money on buying lunch but it saved the team money too as its cheaper to use an electric pool car than it is to use a traditionally fuelled vehicle.

To paraphrase from Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, I’m writing this blog at the turn of the tide. Electric vehicles are becoming more prominent in people’s consciousness I know the passengers were impressed and they are starting to demonstrate that they are more than a small town car.  There were a few conversations on the journey about whether an electric vehicle would fit into current lifestyles.  I have to say that until I’d bought the hybrid I’d never wanted to drive an electric vehicle.  Now if I have to travel for work I’ll be looking to use the electric fleet over the traditional vehicles.

I’ve been converted and I hope by the end of the week you, the readers, become more open to them too.

Cllr Ross Vettraino Blog day 2

Fife Renewables innovation centre (FRIC)and environmental thoughts

Dear Fifers

It’s day 2 of Climate week. Fife Council has arranged a number of visits to ground breaking carbon reduction projects and today’s visit was to Fife renewables Innovation centre in Methil  . This world class  innovative project sees hydrogen energy produced from water using wind turbine electricity. This low carbon energy is then used to fuel hydrogen powered vehicles (like Fife’s hydrogen waste trucks -the first in the UK ) and kangoo vans for use by local business and community groups . The hydrogen is also used to heat buildings and hot water and is linked to the micro grid system within the energy estate. For more information and visits see their website.

You may be asking yourself but why go to the effort of trailing new technology’s? Why not use the old carbon fuels? Cat Payne a climate expert working for Fife Council gave us a real wakeup call with her impressive presentation on climate. As she says climate change doesn’t care whether you are a believer in climate change or not. It will happen regardless of what any of us wants to happen.  Because of time lags in the atmospheric system, we are still waiting for the carbon emitted over the last 30 years to affect the climate – the changes we are seeing today are from emissions released  back in the 1980s. Cat suggests we in Fife need  a two-fold plan of attack on climate change: mitigation and adaptation. “We have to ‘avoid the unmanageable’ by cutting carbon emissions to stop adding fuel to the fire, and limit the impacts of climate change” and “we have to manage the unavoidable” by adapting our area to the physical impacts of climate change.

We can do this by ensuring our buildings are built appropriately and can deal with extremes of heat and cold. We can build in areas that will not be prone to sea level rise and flooding from heavy rains. We need to protect our communities along our coast line and we need to start doing that now. I suggest as many Fife councillors and staff as possible hear Cat’s presentation. She will be presenting again on Thursday lunchtime at Fife House as part of Climate week. It’s important to understand the urgency so we in Fife can act now and influence policy, building and transport decisions today so we are ready for tomorrow.

After touring the hydrogen centre we came back to watch the live web broadcast from Scottish government  by the Scottish Government energy policy lead: Chris Stark – he explained how the Scottish Government is  planning to decarbonise Scotland’s economy.  Key messages that came out were that Scotland is doing very well in decarbonising our electricity supply. But that is the easy bit! We now need to tackle transport and heating in homes and businesses – a much bigger and more complex challenge.  By building well insulated homes that do not need heat we not only reduce our need to use carbon-heavy fuels, we reduce fuel poverty and improve Scotland’s balance of trade and energy security. By having electric cars we can reduce the cost of travel for citizens and increase air quality.   An energy master plan delivered for Burntisland in March showed that if all the light vans and cars in the town were replaced by equivalent electric vehicles it would save residents £2.7 million a year. That is a lot of money no longer leaving the town to line the pockets of multinational fuel companies but instead available to be spent in the local economy.

A low carbon economy can make Fife a fairer healthier place to live. On that note my environment thought for today.  We must not hide from uncomfortable truths .  We must be aware of what lies ahead and prepare ourselves for it.

Until tomorrow

With best wishes

Cllr Ross Vettraino


Journey in an electric car – Tuesday 19 September

I’ve had a few challenges in the few months that I’ve had my hybrid electric so far. Yesterday I talked about the ability to charge the car via a network of Points throughout Fife and beyond.  That’s excellent when it works but my experience so far on longer journeys has been less positive.

At the office I have a seven hour window to find the time to charge the car so unless I forget there is very rarely an issue. Going further afield has not been quite as simple.  In July we went to Durham for a long weekend and took the car.  Driving down was relatively simple – charging at natural rest stops and getting a coffee or some lunch.  The problem came as you start to head South past Newcastle.  On my route I encountered one slow charge facility in about a 2 hour journey radius whilst I was away for the weekend.  That meant that I had no method of charging and had to rely on the petrol engine until I returned North.

A very quick count on the ‘Charge Your Car’ website shows that Scotland has a network of approximately 750 charging Points whilst England has around 1,200. It looks positive for Scotland but given the population of England that looks like a logistical challenge at this point.

Another charging challenge that I’ve encountered has been the ability for the charging point to charge the car. On our way back from Durham we stopped in Alnwick to visit the castle, the one from the Harry Potter films.

Our charging experience wasn’t magical though. Despite having the location through the mobile ‘Charge Your Car’ website it was quite difficult to identify the exact car park that the charging point was in.  When we found it, another car has just taken the first space so I felt lucky to get the second.  It started to go wrong from that point onward.

I scanned the card to allow me access the charge and connected to the car but I got a message saying charging would start when power was available. I knew the system was working as the other car was charging.  We left the car and went to explore coming back around 4 hours later only to find that the car hadn’t charged and we had 1 mile of electricity available.

This has happened a few other times when I’ve been out and about and it can be a little frustrating. It would be interesting to find if other fully electric users experience the same issues.

Technology can help with this though. I know that Volswagen provide an app that can show me the status of my car with information such as its battery %, location, whether it is locked etc.  I can also choose to turn the air conditioning on in advance of arriving at the car – or more likely the heating in Scotland.

It’s my fault that I’ve not yet downloaded the app and if I did I could rectify the charging issues that have occurred so far. Writing this is a good reminder to do so.  I’m aware that other manufacturers offer similar technology so a smart phone will keep you connected with your car and its power status.

Despite the challenges that I’ve faced charging the car on occasion, I have to say that the majority of charges have been simple, effective and with the exemption of one charge in England, free. My journeys back and forward to work are within the battery range and only on longer trips is the petrol engine required.

By charging, I’m not only saving on fuel but also producing zero emissions. A serious win in the effort to address Climate Change.

Cllr Vettraino – Climate week visits and environment thoughts

Dear Fifers,

This week we at Fife Council are delighted to be involved with Climate week along with many other councils across Scotland. We feel it’s important to highlight the global situation in regards to climate change and the need to take action locally.

Climate week runs from 18th to 22nd September 2017 and is a national initiative promoted by the Scottish Government and Keep Scotland Beautiful. See their website for more details.

Throughout this week Fife Council is offering councillor and staff visits to some of our ground breaking carbon reduction projects. There are also talks and conversations where you are invited to have your say as well as blogs and webinars. For more information and to take part see website.  Here you can see the events calendar, tweets page and blogs including my daily blog on my visits and thoughts regarding the environment and climate change. I’m particularly looking forward to revisiting the anaerobic digestion plant in Dunfermline to refresh my understanding on the process of turning Fife’s food and garden waste to compost and low carbon heat and electricity.

As a consequence of 30 years working in environmental health I’m no stranger to the challenges of climate change and how important it is in the preservation of this planet. As a society we have to remind ourselves we only have this planet on loan from our children and need to look after it for their sake and the generations that come after us. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all Fifers to participate actively to reduce their carbon footprint. They can do this by reducing waste, travelling more sustainably and using low carbon heat and electricity. For more ideas and details on how to do this please check out the following website

Until tomorrow.

With best wishes

Cllr Ross Vettraino

Journey in an electric car – Monday 18 September

As part of climate week I’ve been asked to write about my experiences of driving an electric car. Earlier this year I purchased a hybrid Volkswagen – it allows me to choose between running the vehicle as a fully electric vehicle or alternatively operate it in hybrid mode and the car chooses when to use electric or petrol as its primary fuel source.

For me this was about dipping a toe into the sea of electric vehicles. I wasn’t convinced that a electric vehicle was the correct choice for me at this stage and felt that range anxiety would be a common issue.

This week I’ll share my experiences of electric vehicles and you can share yours by letting us know your experiences.

I’ll start of by saying that although I work in the environment industry, I was a little unsure if electric vehicles were for me. I’ve always had a preference for driving diesel engines and thought they had less of an impact on climate change than their petrol counterparts.  A recent study indicated that this may not necessarily be the case and in fact could produce more greenhouse gases than previously thought.

On top of that, the emissions from diesel vehicles, particularly in a city, are harmful at a local level. Nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (PMs) are harmful to human health and the government are now starting to address the issue.  The UK government has stated that it will ban the production of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 whilst the Scottish Government have set their target for 2032.  The Scottish Government is also planning on Low Emission Zones for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee where the more polluting vehicles are banned or alternatively must pay a daily charge for entering that zone.

All of this points to a change in the way our cars will be powered and over the week I’ll look at what my experiences of driving an ‘alternative fuel’ vehicle are like.

Let’s start with the logistics of charging an electric vehicle. There are 3 main charging points – rapid, fast and slow chargers.  The rapid chargers can deliver around 80% of charge within a 20 to 40 minute time period.  Fast chargers typically take more than an hour whilst slow chargers are normally found at home.  Currently the government is offering grants to install home charging units free of charge.

In Fife there are currently 35 public charging stations located across the county at public car parks, transport hubs and railway stations. I am lucky that I am based at Bankhead Central in Glenrothes and have access to a charging point at work therefore charging during the day is easy to do.

To access a charging station you need to register your vehicle to a card from Charge your Car. This covers a large network of Points throughout Scotland and the UK and costs £20 per year.  The benefit is that most charging stations are free to use with your access card.

I’ll be talking more about my adventures in an electric car throughout the week so be sure to check back each day for more updates and don’t forget to get involved too.